Save Murchison Falls is one of the furious campaigns that is ongoing by many Uganda tour operators, conservationists and concerned partners on the controversial issue of constructing a hydro power dam on Murchison Falls. The swelling issue started when the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Uganda (ERA) on the 7th of June 2019 published a note through the press recognizing the receipt of a notice regarding an intended application for a licence from a company well known now as Bonang power energy limited. This company is a South African based with intentions of generating and also sale of hydro electricity power.
With this press release it was noticed that the coordinates of the intended power dam was at the mighty Murchison Falls a fact conservationists could not bare to take in.The company through ERA explains that the generated power will be sold to the Uganda electricity transmission company limited and then be fed to the national grid. This is something that no one welcomes in the tourism sector and the chairman of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators stated that
“Tourism is one of the biggest sectors in Uganda. It accounts for 10% of the county’s gross domestic product and 24% of the foreign exchange inflow, meaning it is the single biggest foreign exchange earner of Uganda.”
He also added that tourism is a substantive sector which shouldn’t be swept through irrational decisions by government.
Recently cabinet gave the South African energy company the green light to undertake a feasibility on Uhuru falls and other activities leading to the development of a 360MW hydro-power dam. The fight to save Murchison Falls still continues and here is why we should save Murchison Falls
About Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls also referred to as Kabalega falls is formed as the Nile River water forces its way through a seven meter gorge and tumbles 43 meters below to what is referred to as the devil’s cauldron. This is the world’s most powerful waterfalls referred to as so because the outlet of Lake Victoria sends around 300 cubic meters per second (11,000 ft³/s) of water over the falls squeezed into a gorge only almost 7 meters wide. The strength from the falls creates a thunderous roar with a spray of mist that creates a beautiful view with the rainbow above.
Murchison Falls was named so by Sir Samuel Baker who named them after Roderick Murchison the then president of the Royal Geographical Society. During the reign of Idi Amin, the waterfall was referred to Kabalega falls named so after the Omukama (king) of Bunyoro-Kabalega. However, the name Kabalega Falls was never promulgated and after the downfall of Idi Amin, the falls till date are referred to as Murchison. The mighty Murchison Falls are one of the top attractions for tourists who take Uganda safaris along with the wildlife in the national park.
Around the falls is the Murchison Falls Conservation area which is also home to the popular Murchison Falls National Park which borrows its name from the falls. There are 76 mammal species, including giraffes, elephants, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, kobs, bushbucks, waterbucks, oribi, and jackals. The list of birds counts 450 species.
Some of the activities in Murchison Falls National Park include a Launch trip from Paraa along the river Nile up to the Murchison Falls (17 km); a hike to “top of the falls”, to see closer from the top the spectacular Murchison Falls; Game drives North of river Nile and at Lake Albert Delta (Buligi, Albert and Queen’s tracks); Sportfishing (Nile Perch and tiger fish), on the river Nile above and below the Fall;. Chimpanzee trekking and bird watching in Budongo Forest and Kanyiyo Pabidi Forest Reserve.